BUILDING RESILIENT & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
AND believes that building neighborhood resiliency isn’t just about preparing for the next Hurricane Sandy; it’s about creating systems that are able to withstand, recover quickly, and bounce back stronger after crises. The communities of Northern Manhattan, due to topography, a history of disinvestment, and increasingly intense environmental events, are vulnerable to crises like extreme storms, flooding, heat waves, and air pollution. But our neighborhoods also contain robust networks of people, organizations, and institutions that make the community stronger. AND is committed to helping build resiliency networks across Northern Manhattan by integrating mitigation, protection, and preparation into our buildings, projects, partnerships, and thinking.
Several years ago, AND committed to mitigating the processes that lead to air pollution, reliance on fossil fuels, and global climate change through good design and retrofits for our individual buildings, and progressive energy practices for our portfolio as a whole. To date:
- We’ve worked with the White Roof Project to install a white roof on one of our elder housing developments and three of our smaller buildings, and our Ascendant Heritage Apartments rehabilitation project will install white roofs on 18 of our remaining buildings. Painting building roofs white reflects up to 90% of sunlight (as opposed to the 20% reflected by a traditional black roof). On a 90°F day, a black roof can reach temperatures of up to 180°F, while a white roof stays a cool 100°F. This small change can reduce cooling costs for the building up to 40%, relieves stress on the power grid, decreases smog, and mitigates some of the heat island effect.
- We used Con Edison incentives to replace all interior and exterior common area lighting in our buildings with LED lighting.
- Our ongoing rehabilitation project of our twenty-one oldest buildings meets Enterprise Community Partners’ Green Communities Standards.
- AND was an early participant in Con Edison’s Comprehensive Multifamily Program (formerly known as the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Program), when we developed the All Saints Apartments.
- We were the second, and are still one of the few, non-profit participants in the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge. Since 2014, we have reduced our carbon emissions by 24.9%, and we are well on our way to reach our 30% reduction goal!
- Most recently, we partnered with Solar One to assess our portfolio and the buildings owned by our partners in the Northern Manhattan Collaborative for new solar panels and community shared solar potential. We’ll begin installing solar panels on four of our buildings this year.
AND is keenly aware that East Harlem – like so many waterfront neighborhoods across New York City – is susceptible to flooding brought on by extreme storms and sea level rise. We want to set an example for how non-profit affordable housing developers, owners, and managers can prepare their buildings – and protect their residents’ homes – from future weather events. To that end, we’ve completed Resiliency Capital Needs Assessments (RCNAs) for our seven buildings most vulnerable to flooding.
These RCNAs help us to evaluate and prioritize physical improvements that can fortify those properties against flooding, heat waves, and other events. AND was able to add improvements suggested by the RCNAs to our ongoing Ascendant Heritage Apartments rehabilitation project, including replacing windows, addressing drainage issues, and elevating a boiler from a flood-prone basement to the roof.
After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Enterprise Community Partners launched the Learning Collaborative for Multifamily Affordable Housing Resilience as part of its Recovery and Rebuilding Program. The Collaborative was founded to help organizations improve the resiliency of their affordable housing properties and safeguard them from future crises. AND was one of twelve affordable housing organizations selected for the program that, in total, oversee nearly 300 buildings throughout the New York City metropolitan area.
The Collaborative has served approximately 14,500 low- and moderate-income households to date, and it continues to strengthen the organizations’ disaster preparedness skills, improve the physical resilience of their properties and work collaboratively to identify best practices for resilience in the multifamily affordable housing field. Through this work, Enterprise has produced Ready to Respond, a suite of tools to help affordable housing organizations make their buildings resilient, prepare their staff to handle emergencies and ensure their residents remain safe.
COMMUNITY CRISIS PREPARATION
In addition to physical projects that increase sustainability and resiliency in the built environment, AND believes in the power of social networks to galvanize communities against disasters. For that reason, AND recently joined the East Harlem Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD), a coalition of local organizations and businesses who work to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters that affect the lives of East Harlem residents. The COAD meets regularly to share best practices, offer trainings, and strategize around community-wide responses to potential crises. Visit the COAD’s website to learn more and get involved.
AND is also a member of the Project Advisory Committee for the East Harlem Resiliency Study project, organized by NYC Parks and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR), and launched in 2017. This neighborhood-wide planning study looks at how to build a more resilient East Harlem in the face of a changing climate, including future sea level rise, storm surge, increased precipitation, and heat. The study will result in a Vision Plan for a Resilient East Harlem, a roadmap of recommendations to improve both the physical and social resiliency of the community. The study will generally focus on an area between 92nd Street and 154th Street, between the Harlem River and the floodplain, but may expand beyond these limits.